2015 A Look Back

What an amazing year it has been.

Ant and I surprised all our friends and family when after 24 years together we annouced our engagement in February.

Then followed a perfect July wedding surrounded by many of our friends and family, the sun shone and we had just the amazing day ever, my lovely Mum and Dad were so proud, very happy memories of the most wonderful day.

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Amongst all this we were selling our old house and also overseeing a 12 month project renovationing a farmhouse, a mamouth task, luckily we found an incredible team of builders headed by Colin Thomas of http://www.enchantedwood.co

We are feeling very proud of our project. Rescuing old beams & watching them return to their former glory was an amazing and fulfilling task. Ant & I dug up piles of 200 year old handmade bricks that were buried in the garden to use on the extension, so it matched the house. It has been worth it, it looks incredible and we have had so many lovely comments from local residents about how the work on our house has improved and enhanced the area. Photos of our house are even being used by a local council as an example of renovations being in keeping with the original historic building.

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Having sold so many horses to pay for the work on the farmhouse the horse competitions have been very quiet. Massimo won his 4 year old qualifier and went on to do well at the Champs in October. I have a number of youngsters for the future quietly coming along nicely. Sprout in particularly looks very promising and of course everyone loves Blizzard. Ant kept the cups and rosettes flowing in with success showing his chickens, including winning supreme Champion at The Royal Three Counties, a career highlight for him without a doubt.

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A highlight of my year (and my career) was my pupil Saffron Cresswell winning a Gold Medal for GB in Sweden at the European Eventing Champs.  A very proud day. Not many coaches can say they have trained a rider who has won gold riding for their country. Huge credit to Saffron and her Mum who both put in an unbelievable amount of work. When most kids are watching TV after school Saffron is riding her 3 horses, rain or shine every day, all year round,  before sitting down to eat her tea and do her home work.

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In the spring it was a huge relief that my 5 month old collie puppy Hugo recovered fully from his freak accident when getting out of a car he caught his leg under the seat and severed his Achilles’ tendon on the seat adjustment mechanism. They stitched it back together at the vets worryingly telling me it was a rare injury with poor prognosis, it seemed a long slow recovery, but watching him bounce round and wipe his muddy paws over everyone when he gives his lovely Hugo hugs, it was all so worth it. Photo kindly by Sally Newcomb.

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Lastly there was that amazing day when I bought Eventing Magazine to find I was on the front cover of the annual guide to the season. Wow!

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Winnerwinnerchickendinner

The last two outings with my baby horses have resulted in a handful of red rosettes.

Combined training at Allens Hill with Blizzard and Sprout resulted in a win for Blizzard and a 2nd place for Sprout, both were tense and neighing to their friends in the dressage but a clear SJ secured the rosettes. Then Nikki who I coach finished in 3rd in the bigger class at her first combined training competition.

This weekend we were out again, still working on that important dressage phase, this time at Hartpury. We felt slightly scruffy wearing our plain hacking jackets on our fluffy youngsters, among the blingy riders in expensive looking shiny hats and jackets to match on flash horses with white bandages!!!

Sprout was tense in class one prelim 7 and I was so surprised to find he had won on 68%. Ahhh well not many in it I thought. Then he did a better test in the second test p18 and despite it being a larger class with even more flashy horses in it and with a different judge he won on 69%.

Next up was my non dressage horse 4 year old Massimo for his first attempt at a Novice, I had bravely entered him in both Novice tests.

When we got him off the lorry I found he had sprung a hind shoe, it was slipped sideways and still half on with 3 nails missing and 3 still very firmly in place, a toe clip was embedded in his foot. Using a hoof pick as a buffer and a normal DIY hammer I impressed even myself and after a good ten minutes I stood up shoe in hand declaring proudly “I am not a wife of a farrier for nothing”

This made for a rushed warmup and a slightly wobbly test but he still finished in second, then he went even better in the next test and won it.

I am still feeling quite stunned by our success, need to thank my dressage coach Kate Cowell for all her help with Massimo this year, she is yet to meet Sprout, Happy Days & I can’t wait for the new season to start.

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Solihull BS

It was off to Solihull today with Massimo for some British Show Jumping. He was an absolute star, he picked up his dangly legs enough to jump a double clear in the Discovery Blue Chip qualifier, it was a qualifier for the winter Championships & it was 1.10 in the jump off. Pretty big for a 4 year old. There were 80 in it so I have no idea if Massimo was placed as we jumped early and came home to get the other horses ridden.

Next week we have plans to take Sprout and Blizzard out to a show, they are loving the hacking at the new house and both go into all the ponds and jump all the ditches and bushes on the common without question.

We had a funny incident this week with Hedgerow our tiny little cat, she went missing for 2 days. I wasn’t too worried as she often goes visiting, our next door neighbours have already returned her once. Only this time she had been shut in the cupboard under the sink for 36 hours. I had heard a meow but I thought it was the builders ladder squeaking, I only investigated further when it sounded like I had a cat in the dishwasher, thank goodness it was the cupboard next to the dishwasher and not the actual dishwasher. Funny little cat.

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